Dave Work

CIMI Director - Toyon Bay, Fox Landing, Cherry Cove

After my undergraduate degree, I spent eight years in southern Africa working at private game lodges (photographic safaris) and doing field research in remote areas.

Over that time, I learned that I wasn’t really geared for research. Although I loved the fieldwork and had a knack for organizing it, my brain isn’t, comparatively, the academic type. But I did like working in the field and sharing my knowledge with others in an experiential setting. Sure, you could argue that pointing out some lion here, or elephant there kind of takes care of itself. But a great experience is much more nuanced than that. How do you build a narrative about a place and its ecology over a number of days and many hours of game viewing? How do you help your guests take away more than pictures or a list of names of things they’ve observed? I enjoyed that.

When I returned stateside I had a couple of clear objectives: I wanted to do something socially responsible and I wanted to work with kids in an outdoor setting since I had little opportunity to do that at high-end game lodges catering to an international clientele. It took the better part of a year looking, but when I saw the posted ad for an Instructor position at CIMI my immediate thought was, ‘that’s me.’  The opportunities and experience have remained rewarding and it’s thirty-three years hence.

Like so many that have worked for Guided Discoveries, I am fortunate to have lifelong friendships with so many colleagues, meaningful relationships with group leaders, who are the backbone of much of our success, and, importantly, a deep collection of memories connecting with kids. Of note, I’ve been lucky to have spent many years working closely with our founders. And, like so many others, I’ve had the added pleasure of meeting Katie, my spouse, here, who shares the joys and passion of who we are and what we do at CIMI. The bright light in our house is our lovable and loving yellow lab, Casi.

Work with Catalina Island Marine Institute

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